Welcome to the lab post, where I will be explaining and describing what I am doing and who I am working with etc. It’s going to be a bit long, and I may get lazy half way through, because there is too much to say! The important thing is that I am very happy with all of it :).
Oh boy, where do I begin! I guess I’ll start with the people… So in the lab itself there are 5 PhD students and post-docs (all of which seem super young…) and we are all under Alexandros Alexakis, who is under Stephan Fauve (the big boss). Alex is a relatively young professor (very young for a professor, but I think he got it before what we’re used to in the US because he is in a permanent research position) who is originally from Greece. He is very nice and approachable, thank god, which helps me get comfortable around the lab; however, he pushes me very hard, which I also like, so I’m very excited to be working with him. As for the rest of the people, they are also surprisingly outgoing and extremely nice. They really make an effort to talk to me and make me feel comfortable, I am very appreciative of that. The thing that I love most about lab is how everybody is very social and practically friends, they’re not in their corner doing their work and being anti-social. In fact, it’s incredible how much time we all spend together, haha. I’ll take you through a typical day:
I usually get there at 10am (any earlier and no one will be there - the french like to get to work late!) and read/do work for like 30 minutes or so as everybody gets there (there are usually people there before me, but not everybody). Then at some point one guy says “Coffee?” to everybody and we all get up and go get coffee in a little break room. Although I don’t necessarily like coffee too much (I’m certainly getting used to it after so much of it), it’s a nice way of talking to the guys and just hang out. They take this very seriously, by the way, it happens literally every day without fail. Anyways, after coffee we work until like 1, and that’s when (usually the same guy) calls every body in their offices and says, “Lunch?” and we all meet downstairs. It’s usually a group of about 6 or 7 of us who meet downstairs and then walk to one of many relatively cheap (but delicious) sandwich stores to eat (or to get our sandwiches “to go”). This, again, is always a nice experience because, apart from the relatively long break, we are all talking and socializing with each other; it’s a great atmosphere. The funny thing is that (I’m assuming) they all go the same stores every week because the owners call them by their first names! Haha. After we are all done eating lunch (about 2) we all start standing up and somebody says, “Coffee?” and once again we all go to (another) break room and have coffee and chat, haha, it’s so nice! Granted, after lunch and coffee starts the real work. Afterwards we work from 2:15 or so until like 7-7:30 pm (and that’s when I leave - half the people are still there…). I bet you were calling the french lazy before this sentence, huh? Haha, at first I thought the same thing, “Man, they take a bunch of breaks and show up late! What a life!” But then I realized that they stay at work ridiculously late, so I guess it makes up for it. Anyways, what I like about the afternoon is that I get my one-on-one time with Alex; here he either teaches me something about the simulation, or we sit in front of a chalkboard for like 3 hours and do a bunch of math, it’s actually really great. Getting one-on-one time is great because I’m learning a lot with him, which is a lot more than I had hoped for during this summer internship sort of deal.
Anyways, that’s a basic summary of what is going on right now in my daily life! I won’t go into boring details unless you personally ask me on Facebook or something :). If I think of something that I missed I’ll write something about it on the next post (which will have to do a bit about my trip to Montmartre).